logo quality color

4 ideas to fight against absenteeism at work

absentéisme au travail


Long-term sickness absenteeism has dramatically increased in recent years. In 2019, an employee was absent for an average of 13 days. So, what can be done? How can absenteeism at work be tackled?

The absenteeism figures of recent years reveal a harsh reality: employees are increasingly absent from work. A study by Mensura shows that out of 100 working days, the average Belgian was absent for 5.52 days due to illness.

Absenteeism at work can have disastrous consequences for the company. Decreased productivity, loss of motivation, high stress. Prevention remains the key to success. But what should be done when the cycle is in motion and absenteeism rates are on the rise? Here are 4 ideas to help you combat your employees’ days of absence.

Here are 4 avenues to explore.

1. Asking the right questions

To combat absenteeism at work, start by questioning yourself. What are the reasons for absences within your company? What needs improvement? What mistakes have been made by management? What practices should be reviewed? Conducting an absenteeism audit allows for an objective analysis of the situation. You will obtain a clear diagnosis and identify areas for improvement that are tailored to your company’s situation.


2. Detecting changes in behavior

Assist your managers in detecting changes in employee behavior by training them in social dialogue. Social dialogue fosters understanding between different components of the company and helps reduce absenteeism at work. According to the Mensura study, the analysis of psychosocial risks reveals that workers find the support and appreciation of their superiors more important than that of their colleagues.

When they are listened to and feel supported, even in the case of absence, employees are more inclined to freely express themselves when a problem arises.


3. Investing in well-being to combat absenteeism at work

Health and satisfaction contribute to workplace enjoyment and the reduction of absenteeism. Workplace well-being plays a key role in employee performance and motivation. According to the Mensura study, 28% of Belgians are unhappy at work… and rely on their employers to bring back their smiles! It’s therefore important to take care of employees’ morale, offer them a better quality of work life.

  • A beautified and comfortable workspace
  • Good rapport and a trusting relationship with colleagues
  • Attentive listening from management

… All of these factors help reduce absenteeism at work.


4. Improving working conditions

Improving working conditions also enhances employee motivation and reduces absenteeism at work. Here are some ideas to enhance these working conditions.


Organize a Team Building

To establish a positive social climate, cultivate a sense of belonging to the company. Team buildings strengthen bonds and create camaraderie among employees.


The principle of subsidiarity

Fighting absenteeism also involves implementing a work organization based on subsidiarity, which means delegating responsibility to the most appropriate level. Its implementation requires expressed values and an open management approach.


Fair rules for all

Managing absenteeism also involves creating fair rules that apply to and for everyone.


Living together

To counter employee absenteeism, foster a “Living together” environment.

Promote mutual respect and acceptance of diverse opinions. Benevolent relationships, characterized by openness and cooperation, will help employees feel comfortable at work.



Finally, offer autonomy according to each individual’s capabilities. Autonomy is a great source of motivation for employees. In addition to increasing the sense of well-being and integration in the workplace, it helps reduce social and psychological threats to the health of employees and the company.

And you, what will you implement to fight absenteeism at work?


Want to go further? Quickly read these articles: